Thursday, 5 February 2015

Provisional Results from the November Census...

This is the first time we have tried to conduct a Census of the geese at such a late stage in the Autumn, when we attempted to count as many as possible of our flyway geese on their early wintering grounds. The vast majority of counts came from the weekend of 08 - 09 November 2014.
Whilst figures are still very provisional, and therefore shouldn't be quoted elsewhere, a total of 32,065 brent geese were counted. These were distributed as follows:

Northern Ireland:

Lough Foyle 859
Strangford Lough 17,560
Dundrum Bay 244
Carlingford Lough 124

Republic of Ireland:

Carlingford Lough 7
Dundalk Bay 491
Boyne Estuary 52
Laytown Beach 2
Rogerstwon Estuary 259
Malahide Estuary 342
Baldoyle Bay 69
Dublin Bay 3,288
Kilcoole 3
Wexford Harbour 102
Bannow Bay 186
Ballyteige Bay 33
Tramore Bay 574
Clonea Bay 6
Dungarvan Harbour 700
Castlemaine Harbour 1201
Tralee Bay 3335
Banna Strand 71
Galway Bay 270
Clew Bay 21
The Mullet 217
Killala Bay 352
Ballisodare Bay 234
Sligo Bay 219
Drumcliff Bay 95
Donegal Bay 21
Keadue Strand 25
Braade Strand 52
Ballyness Bay 182
Lough Swilly 100

Scottish Islands:

Islay 26

Scotland:

Loch Ryan 35

England:

Morecambe Bay 80
Dee Estuary 95

Wales:

Anglesey 139
Menai Strait 192

Channel Islands:

Jersey 42

France:

Normandy 160

Overall, the statistics on productivity show that, compared with the total wipe-out disaster last year, productivity and average brood sizes in breeding season 2014 were good, at just over 4% and 2.1 respectively.



Friday, 23 January 2015

Morocco - Now What's That All About??...


An interesting brent goose sighting has come in from Paddy Woodworth from Dublin. He was on holiday at Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, and took the photograph below of a goose he spotted in a pond in coastal dune forest on 02 January 2015:

 
Paddy reported it to eBird, who queried it as extremely unusual, but were happy with his full record and pictures. Subsequently, a guide at Essaouira confirmed to him that brent geese winter just north of the town regularly.
Can anyone add to the current state of knowledge on the southern limits for the species?



Red Letter Day for the Brent Database!!...

With the entry this morning of the 28 December 2014 record from Tramore Backstrand, Co. Waterford, of CURY, with its mate CSRY, from Micheal Cowming, the database has reached the amazing new milestone of over 150,000 re-sightings of marked birds!!
Well done to each of the 986 observers who had been involved in contributing to this figure, with rings read at 1,131 sites and subsites across the flyway. It's no wonder I'm suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury!!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Back on the Move Again, and Apologies...

News has come in this evening that 2IRR, the "Christmas Dinner" bird mentioned in the blog on 30 December 2014, is on the move again, moving up from the Bay of Biscay to Saint-Brieuc Bay in Brittany, where it was recorded today by Anthony Sturbois. It will be interesting to see whether this bird moves back up to the big flocks at Regneville in Normandy.
Secondly, apologies for the lack of input to the blog in recent times, and, indeed, for the very slow rate of feedback some of you will have been experiencing from me recently - I'm currently some three to four weeks behind with data entry. This has been for a variety of reasons, not least the organisation and survey work associated with the International Swan Census, which was held over last weekend. I am hoping to try and catch up somewhat over the next few weeks, so please keep the records coming in!!




Friday, 9 January 2015

Update on Sightings to Date this Winter...

It's a long time since I let you all know how the ring-reading is going this winter, and a mid-season update might be considered worthwhile.
As always seems to be the case by this stage of the winter, I am running well behind with feedback, currently some 3 - 4 weeks, for which apologies to those of you who are waiting. However, please appreciate that there have already been about 6,000 records winging their way to me so far.............!!!!!!!
The position looks as if we are well ahead this winter, but this is somewhat misleading, particularly in the Dublin area, as the intensive ring-reading there by Matt Silk of University of Exeter, as part of his PhD project, had yet to be entered by this time last year. However, I don't think anyone will mind my singling out Christer Persson, who has been out doing his own intensive work as usual this winter across County Dublin, which is mitigating to some extent, our loss of Matt on the ground.
Beyond that, one can see it has been a good winter of ring-reading as birds passed through Strangford Lough, and the overall spread of reporting remains good. And forgive me for saying a special "hi" to all you guys in Normandy - fantastic effort!! Give yourselves a good pat on the back!!


          IRISH BRENT GOOSE RESEARCH GROUP RING RESIGHTINGS  2014 / 2015


          DATE :-   20.12.14                         

 

THIS REPORT INCLUDES ALL RESIGHTINGS THIS SEASON (AFTER 01 JULY 2014), WHICH HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED THROUGH THIS GROUP, OF LIGHT-BELLIED BRENT GEESE WITH COLOURED RINGS. THE FIGURES IN BRACKETS SHOW THE POSITION AT THE SAME DATE LAST WINTER. 

             NUMBER OF (a) RESIGHTINGS :-        5228 (2151)             (b) INDIVIDUAL BIRDS :-      1362 (957)

               

ANGLESEY
 
 
AYRSHIRE
 
CANADA
 
 
CHANNEL ISLANDS
CORNWALL
DONEGAL
DORSET
DOWN
 
 
 
 
 
DUBLIN
 
 
 
 
 
FRANCE
GALLOWAY
 
GALWAY
GREENLAND
 
GWYNNED
HIGHLAND
 
ICELAND
 
 
ISLE OF MAN
KERRY
 
 
L’DERRY
LOUTH
 
 
MAYO
 
 
MEATH
 
MERSEYSIDE
NORWAY
SCOTTISH ISLANDS
 
SLIGO
 
WATERFORD
 
WEXFORD
 
 
- EAST ANGLESEY
- HOLYHEAD BAY
- MENAI STRAIT
- DIPPLE BEACH
- MAIDENHEAD BAY
- AXEL HEIBERG ISLAND
- BATHURST ISLAND
- CORNWALLIS ISLAND
- JERSEY
- RIVER TAMAR
- BRAADE STRAND
- LYME BAY
- BELFAST LOUGH
- CARLINGFORD LOUGH
- DUNDRUM BAY
- KILLOUGH HARBOUR
- OUTER ARDS
- STRANGFORD LOUGH
- BALDOYLE BAY
- DUBLIN BAY
- GORMANSTON BEACH
- MALAHIDE ESTUARY
- ROGERSTOWN ESTUARY
- SKERRIES
- NORMANDY
- LOCH RYAN
- WIGTON BAY
- GALWAY BAY
- GREENLAND NORTHWEST
- GREENLAND WEST
- MENAI STRAIT
- CLASHNESSIE BAY
- DUNNET BAY
- ALFTANES
- ICELAND NORTHWEST
- SELTJARNARNES
- DERBYHAVEN BAY
- CASTLEMAINE HARBOUR
- DINGLE HARBOUR
- TRALEE BAY
- LOUGH FOYLE
- CARLINGFORD LOUGH
- DUNDALK BAY
- PORT (CRUISETOWN) BEACH
- BLACKSOD BAY
- KILLALA BAY
- THE MULLET
- GORMANSTON BEACH
- LAYTOWN BEACH
- DEE ESTUARY
- SANDSØYA ISLAND
- ISLAY
- SKYE
- DONEGAL BAY
- SLIGO BAY
- DUNGARVAN HARBOUR
- TRAMORE BAY
- BALLYTEIGE BAY
- FETHARD BAY
- NORTH SLOBS
3 (-)
11 (19)
- (1)
- (1)
- (2)
31 (-)
2 (-)
2 (-)
1 (1)
1 (-)
1 (-)
4 (1)
3 (-)
5 (1)
83 (125)
1 (1)
- (1)
3282 (1322)
113 (52)
1035 (290)
2 (-)
35 (34)
44 (49)
- (1)
127 (47)
- (3)
1 (-)
1 (3)
- (1)
- (1)
9 (1)
- (1)
- (1)
- (24)
- (1)
- (2)
- (1)
73 (32)
3 (-)
126 (22)
68 (47)
5 (7)
31 (-)
1 (-)
1 (-)
6 (-)
3 (1)
2 (5)
3 (2)
2 (-)
1 (-)
15 (-)
6 (-)
- (1)
33 (20)
14 (14)
16 (13)
2 (-)
3 (-)
7 (-)
 
3 (-)
5 (6)
- (1)
- (1)
- (2)
22 (-)
2 (-)
2 (-)
1 (1)
1 (-)
1 (-)
2 (1)
3 (-)
4 (1)
40 (68)
1 (1)
- (1)
1029 (678)
67 (39)
379 (169)
2 (-)
28 (15)
35 (29)
- (1)
17 (13)
- (3)
1 (-)
1 (3)
- (1)
- (1)
7 (1)
- (1)
- (1)
- (24)
- (1)
- (2)
- (1)
36 (20)
3 (-)
73 (22)
40 (40)
5 (6)
24 (-)
1 (-)
1 (-)
6 (-)
3 (1)
2 (2)
2 (2)
2 (-)
1 (-)
8 (-)
6 (-)
- (1)
22 (12)
12 (8)
8 (13)
2 (-)
3 (-)
7 (-)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Flying the Coop - Literally!!!

This is the recent story of NPRR, ringed at the North Bull Causeway on 21 March 2014. Inward-bound this winter, we picked it up on Strangford Lough first on 17 September 2014, where it was recorded half a dozen times, most recently during a WeBS count I was doing on 23 November 2014, located on a tiny off-shore island called Launches Little, on the south coast of the Lough. Four days after that, it was back in Dublin, recorded first by Christer Persson on the mud-flats at North Bull, then, the same day out on one of the pocket handkerchief green areas which are prevalent at Kilbarrack. There may well be subsequent records, but I'm VERY far behind with data inputting and feedback at the moment.
A New Year's Day email from Shane Keogh from Darcystown, near Balbriggan, shattered this pattern of normality. He said he had found this bird on a green area at Donaghmede, and described its leg-rings. It was solitary and clearly had an injured wing, though not broken, and wasn't feeling well. So, what did he do? - he took it home to his chicken-coop at Darcystown, and let it out with his chickens!
I was up in a very wind-swept Donegal over the New Year with Sean Kingston from Dublin, doing some extreme ring-reading, and we only got back last night. Discussions with Shane ensued, which established that the goose, which hadn't been very well at the start, had picked up, and seemed to be in relatively good overall condition. Sean started negotiations with a wildlife rescue centre in Kildare, and I started looking at a Plan B with Kerry Mackie at WWT Castle Espie.
Tonight, however, I have the welcome news from Shane that when he came home, NPRR was no longer there!! No chickens damaged, so not a fox!!
So, though the chicken coop was not that large, NPRR appears to have made its escape!! It will be REALLY interesting to see whether it heads straight back the 20km. south to Dublin! Can any of you from the area please keep a keen eye out for this bird, and let me know as soon as you see it, so that I can update you all!!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Now Where Did YOU have Christmas Dinner?...

News has come in from Adrien Pajot that he has re-sighted one of our brent, 2IRR (2 right leg, I left leg, R ed right leg-ring colour, R ed left leg-ring colour) on Christmas Day, on the western tip of the Île de Ré, Charente-Maritime, France. For those of you who are equally geographically challenged to myself, this island, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge, lies about half-way down the western coast of France, near La Rochelle, on the Bay of Biscay.

This record is from near the southern limit of the range of our birds, and only two ringed birds have ever been recorded from as far south before - CIWW visited the nearby Île d'Oléron during the 2005 / 2006 winter, and HPRY was recorded from Île de Ré in February 2011. Both birds were subsequently recorded from Ireland in subsequent winters, so the extra flight and sun-tan doesn't seem to have done them any harm!

2IRR was ringed in 2013 as part of the intensive series of catches in the Dublin area which have been going on in the past few years. This winter I had it passing through Strangford Lough in late September, following which it was picked up by Pat Watson at North Bull, Dublin on 03 November. Just over a week later, it was recorded from Havre de Regnéville, in Normandy, the main French site for our flyway, on 11 November, by Jerome Bosec. It was recorded there a couple of times again by Alain Livory and Roselyne Coulomb, for the last time on 14 November.

So, this bird has been passed on from one observer to another right along the flyway, which I guess is one of the fascinations of being a ring-reader!!

Having been laid low by a number of fairly vicious bugs over the Christmas period (and apologies that this has led to fewer updates on things), I'm hoping to remove myself to County Donegal tomorrow to seek out a few more new rings at less well-covered sites there over the New Year. Season's Greetings to everyone!!


PS Collation of the early November Census is nearly complete, and I would hope to be able to come back with the findings on my return!